Late to the Party…


Studios are still a mess:  boxes, everywhere…after more than a year, it is getting to be just  a bit too much.  At the beginning, I didn’t have a clue!  How is that possible, one might ask?  (That would be “one” who has never seen my stash…)  Let me just say that when you throw ALL your cookies in the air, they don’t EVER fall back into neatly arranged piles.  It doesn’t help that my packing scheme was to maximize every cubic inch (since I was also going to carry each box down the stairs, up the ramp into the truck, back down the ramp, up the stairs…) AND it means that all of one thing didn’t necessarily get packed into the same box.  A true recipe for chaos on the other end…and that is pretty much what remains.

BUT, this is NOT a rant about the woes of moving… (how boring).   On her last visit a few weeks ago, my daughter suggested that I might find Pinterest “interesting”…little did she know!  What fun. I have been ripping stuff out of magazines for years…anything that catches my eye. IMG_5249 Some of it gets categorized and stashed into binders…started out with mostly quilt stuff, moved into doll making, added holiday ideas, mixed-media techniques, dyeing recipes (lots of cutting and pasting)…and, then there were the random gorgeous colors, patterns, and other bits of found paper things that morphed into collage fodder for artist trading cards, journals, cards and just plain fun.  I still do it.  There are neat piles right next to the chair I am sitting in at this very moment (amidst all the moving mess, AND since Day One).  Seems like such an innocent past time…IMG_5207the gleanings from the past few weeks…

BUT, I wasn’t prepared for Pinterest!  What fun!  If you haven’t checked it out, DO IT!  On any given topic, hundreds of people have posted “things that caught their eye”!   I found that some have even “pinned” a few of my things on their boards!  How anyone ever found them in the sea of inspiration out there is a bit staggering to contemplate…My son put the Pinterest widget(?) on the side bar of this blog (see it?)…click on it (and then click on my name in the upper right corner, then onto “Profile and Pins”…and, just take a pass through my “boards”…you can see what fun I am having…and, I bet you might want to join the party!  Have fun!

Wedding Paper…DONE!

And, not a moment too soon.  So, here is a quick look.


Find your name.  Take the train to Capitola?


There’s your table!


Wedding Favors…to remember the day.  Tickets to GREAT times.


Special wishes for the bride and groom…


Don’t forget the cake…lots of cake.


Not Exactly Twiddling My Thumbs…

IMG_5062In spite of the fact that so far, no work has come out of either of my new studios, there IS some “work” getting done and news to tell.  I have had some work and articles published in two magazines in the last few weeks.  The summer issue of Pages, published by Interweave Press has my stenciled journal in it…they actually extended the original four pages to six and I was very happy with the way that it turned out.  (I got a bit nervous about the whole thing when the editor started referring to it as the “peek-through journal”…sounded a bit racy, and not what I had in mind at all.  But, the article looks great! (Photos, page by page are in the entry “Can You Hear It?”, posted July 23, 2013)  And, somewhat serendipitously, my “kimono” (photos, “Finished…Maybe”, February 26, 2013), part of a gallery exhibit at the City Quilter in New York City last year, caught the eye of a visiting editor of the German magazine Patchwork Professional…and there it is on page 37 of the 01/2014 issue!  In German… sure hope it says good things!

IMG_5071My son is getting married soon and I have been tapped to do the “paper stuff”.  I designed their guest book…and, am very pleased with the way it turned out.  I started with a rather large wire-bound book of watercolor paper (Cachet), randomly stenciled pages with  alcohol-inks, and cropped and pasted down photos to tell their story.  It helped that I had lots of interesting photos to choose from: I never realized just how much they have travelled!  It will take a brave person to be the first to write in it…but, after that, I am hoping that the photos jog memories of shared good times…and that the messages written in by their guests reflect that.IMG_5070

Using similar techniques and colors (purple, by special request), I am also devising place cards, table ID’s and dinner favors.  All is taking place in an old logging camp up in the mountains above Santa Cruz, ceremony in a redwood cathedral grove (stunning), party in the barn…guests to arrive by steam engine…hence, the cabinet cards, train schedules, and tickets…(those are still UFOs…but, working on them…)IMG_5073 IMG_5074 IMG_5078

I complained enough to my daughter about the brown curtains in her living room, that she finally just told me to “just make some”…working on that…WHITE and lovely.IMG_5086 IMG_5104

And, I guess the post script to this entry is that I have never given up on finishing the mystery knit-along I started with my daughter in December.  I feel like the very last runner crossing the finish line, long, LONG (months and months) after everyone else.  AND, the very sad thing is that it isn’t because I haven’t been working on it.  I have…almost EVERY DAY…obviously, ripping out far more than I knit in!…but I finally conquered Clue 4 (thank you, lifeline), and am more than half through Clue 5!  Then, DONE!  I have learned a lot in the process, and am truly glad I stuck with it…IMG_5082No studio?  No problem…in this house, any flat surface can (and does) serve!!!!

Catching Up…

IMG_5100Even though there have been no posts, there has been some progress.  I can actually see the floors in both studios!  The HUGE pile of boxes is GONE.  I wish I could say that every thing that was packed away in those boxes has actually found a good (and final) landing spot.  But, so far, that’s not happening.  All of my cookies have been truly tossed.

What used to hold my stuff, no longer does!  My china closet is actually in a real dining room…good for nothing at the moment, it’s not even holding dishes.  It is too long of a trek from the studio, anyway to use it to store the beads, lace, trims, binders, and books it used to hold…That was one VERY useful piece of furniture!  It might actually be re-purposed for its original one…imagine that.  I also “lost” two of my tables and an armoire; I may have acquired a trunk…and a bookcase…but, nothing seems to be going easily in the “organization” effort.

IMG_5087I finally stripped the old varnish off my mahogany “sewing” table: its beautiful inlay work had been hidden by all the dings and chips in the finish.   I wanted to do that for years and knew I would never get to it once it was back in action).  It turned out great!  Feeling sort of smug about that one.  I have to cut off a few inches from the top of my design wall panels…sure going to miss those…but its wood support is in place…waiting.   “Claimed” a great rug for the floor…one of our last purchases from the Elephant’s Trunk.

IMG_5093The other room is not faring so well.  Basically, I plan to do everything except sew in there. Lots of manpower got the huge (10 feet long!!!) table around tight corners and up the stairs.  (John made it for me years ago; the top, salvaged from an old drafting shop.  In the old house, it was doing basement project duty.)  I am truly hoping it will work upstairs this time.  But, so far, I just keep unpacking boxes in there, trying to sort things into “common” piles.

To best use all of this space, and, especially the closets that I do have, my fabric has ended up being in the “paper/bead” studio closet and the beads and art supplies, in the closets in the other room.  It is a little mind-bending at the moment, as I try to get it all organized.  But, who knows, maybe there will be more “cross-pollinization” in my future work because of it.  I know it is all looking very fresh. IMG_5103


A Small Victory

IMG_5042Stolen moments and sheer willfulness got the “traveling” bag done and shipped off…ready for its first trip. Hopefully, it will be “just perfect”.   I truly enjoyed mucking around in my stuff once again, trying to figure out how to make the thing and then, how to make it special.  Couldn’t find much more than my most basic tools…scissors, pins, a needle, thread, and, the very important seam ripper!  Had to scrounge for “stuff” beyond the things my daughter left behind when she visited a few weeks ago: the penguin buttons, the patches from Korea, the dragon…I got lucky and found my trays of mother-of-pearl and ivory-like treasures.  (SO glad I labelled the boxes as well as I did and I could have done better still…I am NOT going to even think “next time”!)  Who would have thought so many would still be taped up six months later?)

IMG_5046Went with the black and white theme suggested by the penguins…added some polka dot ribbon I found in a plastic bin (a real advantage there…I can see what is inside!)  Lined the pocket with a great black and white print.  I tried to make the “private” side of the bag under the flap as interesting as the “public” side…without overdoing it (keeping my “client” in mind).  Under the flap is a quiet message just for my daughter.  In the zippered pocket is a good luck coin.  It might have been especially fitting if I could have found my old Chinese coins…but in a way, secreting the lovely old French coin there, was even more so.  We found it in a Paris street market on the trip that started this whole “traveling bag” story…AND, it is a reminder of a really good day.

IMG_5045The zipper pulls were a bit of a problem.  No tools.  No headpins.  It was totally extravagant to use the silver wire…but it was all I could find.  Deadline…tick.tick.tick.  They may have to be replaced at some point…but that will be a problem for another day.  TODAY, I am feeling pretty good.  This was fun.  And, hopefully, the bag will do its job well.  Bon Voyage.

Picking up the Pieces

IMG_5033Studios are almost done.  What is taking so long is elusive…time just seems to slip by as I try my best to do the things that should be done.  The “should” is the telling word.  Not going there…

The dining room table (the only clear and flat surface in the house) has finally succumbed to the assorted projects that are piling up as “the painter” lags behind.  Quite a few years ago, on a once in a lifetime kind of trip, my daughter and I were wandering through the streets of Paris.  We happened upon a trendy boutique (more her style than mine…big surprise!) where she fell in love with a pocketbook/bag…army drab in color, but sparkling with stuff.  Her practical side decided that “we” could make one.  We spent the rest of our trip seeking out “Paris things” to sew on a bag.  It did get made.  And it has since been much-loved and much-travelled…and is now, falling apart.  Who travels with a bag with a broken zipper?  Pickpockets, any one????  Her response is always the same.  “It is just perfect, Mom”.  (This is the daughter who likes the new thing only if it is just like the old thing.  Try shopping for back-to-school shoes!  Challenging, to say the least.  Glad those days are done!)

Well, life for her has been tough, lately.  She IS getting back to work which involves the inevitable travel.  And, this is a good thing.  So, instead of painting studio trim, I am making her a new bag (as much like the “perfect” old one as is humanly possible!)    Travel is so fraught with potential disaster…I keep telling myself that for her, the worst has already happened, and, practically in her own front yard…but still…

So I have gathered together the penguin buttons she had bought for his birthday, and the embroidered dragon that will guard her gate, and a small patch purchased on a memorable trip taken together when her life was good, and I am hoping to help her pick up her pieces…with a bag for her travels, made with talismans and love.

And, for me, I guess it is a first step in a new life as well…


Showing Some Promise…


Kate got me off the dime.  By the time she left all of the studio walls were painted.  I will admit that it is an extravagant use of space…but, really, who needs more than one guest room?  So, I find myself with a suite of studio spaces…

IMG_5024I lived in a white house for nearly 25 years.  This time, I am choosing color: fresh, light, easy.  I have to admit I probably went a little crazy when I started out with four gallons of “Breath of Fresh Air” to paint my bedroom…but the name was catchy, the room was huge, and the color was lovely…blue.  Well, I started with the little alcove in my bedroom, using the color straight from the can, and it SCREAMED. It GLOWED; it was BRIGHT!  Too much.  Really.   Not in the plan, at all.  Funny how deceiving those little squares of color can be.  But, I had four gallons of the stuff!

I would not recommend this if one is faint of heart, color-wise,  but I have been dumping that “Fresh Air” into my leftover cans of white paint (my ceilings are still mostly getting the “white” treatment, but am thinking of adding a bit of color there, too).   Stirring, testing,  adding a bit more “Air”, stirring, stirring… what a great color!  Still blue, but light and “fresh”.

IMG_5026Then, I bought a gallon of “Misty Lilac”…looked pink in that little two inch square.  Put some on the wall…Whoa!  Added LOTS of white: concocted a lighter version.  Painted one room.  Added blue to the  can of “mistiness”.  Painted another room.  Added more pink, a dollop of blue…painted the last room.

IMG_5019Needless to say, if I ever have to “touch up”, things could get dicey.  But, for now, I  am happy.  There may be some room switching as the job gets finished.  The sun is crossing across the walls in an unexpected way, which will definitely determine where the design wall has to be…and therefore, which space will be for fabric work.  The rest will fall into place after that.  But, still, showing some  promise…Home is where the art happens…and, it has been far, far too long…


Still Somewhat of a “Pipe Dream”…

When we decided to leave New York, I was the designated “house hunter”…in retrospect,  that was an awesome challenge.  We had many of the usual requirements, but top on MY list was a studio.  Did I get it?  Well, not exactly…

I looked at some bona fide ones.  Real studios with a track record…art on the walls, paint splattered on the floor,  good vibes…do you think they “convey”?… (real estate speak).  In the end, “must-haves’, aside, we were seduced by a sunset across a valley…the house just came with it.  “It” happens every night (how could I have been missing those colors? for 30 years!)…gorgeous, but STILL…a studio? nope.

I picked a bedroom with a closet (two, actually)…THAT was a step in the right direction.  Look closely at the photo.  That closet actually has my name on it.  Destiny! With only one exception, I have never had a “studio” with a real closet…with doors…that close…and hide the stash!  (My number ONE requirement)

That bedroom had an odd little room attached to it.

B-i-i-i-g closet?  perhaps…

Just outside of the room was an odd space.  Sort of like a group study corral (the family had five kids).  It “went” the day we closed on the house…but the space remained.  

A reading spot?  No light…maybe good for a photography set-up?  a library?

You can see where this is going, I am sure.  The house with “no studio” was showing some promise.  Did I mention the bathroom just off the “library”?  But where would the paper stuff go?  Hmmm.  How about that other room just to the left of the back stairs?  To make a long story short, I have claimed it ALL.  Four closets!  With shelves “to order”… The color choices remain “unique”, the piles, a bit daunting…but it is ALL mine…stay tuned.

ps:  My mom is better.  At 87, I admire her determination to “get her life back”.  Another, “work in progress”.

When Drowning in Reality…

Tired of packing. Tired of painting.  Tired of fixing up my house for somebody else.  Just tired, period.  What is a person drowning in reality to do?  Well, in a very minor revolt, I spit back.  My design wall is no longer empty.  It has a “quilt” on it (a UFO, previously loved, then, forgotten, but found while packing).  I am not completely and totally “out of it”.  I know I won’t get it sewn together, or even all up in place on the wall.  I just know that it has to be there for now…

ps:  Something funny happened to this photo when wordpress translated it from my editing program…this is actually a very bright and cheery thing on a very white wall…the day was rainy…but, enough with the water metaphors…